Love in France: L’Amour et La Chatte

Craig Pospisil and his cat Elle.

In November 2006, I was on a busy trip to Paris with my then-girlfriend Jane. We were on our way to her brother’s house in Provence to celebrate Thanksgiving. It was the middle of the night, and I was stuck in the middle seat. I couldn’t sleep and something was wrong. I’ve traveled all my life, but suddenly I had claustrophobia. Panic filled my chest. You need space. I struggled down the aisle and immediately felt better. Until I realized I fainted and was lying on the floor. shit. The crew gave me a Coca-Cola. A New York Xanax firefighter show. I think Jane just went back to sleep. On the plus side, the crew moved the guy in the aisle seat somewhere, so I had more room as we continued east over the Atlantic. My pride was bruised, but what hit me the most was my head and neck hitting the ground.

That morning after landing, Jane and I left our bags at our hotel near the Sorbonne and decided to spend the day on a tour of Paris, with a bump on my head and a pinched nerve in my neck. Parisian favourites breakfast from coffee with milk And croissant I failed to lift my spirits. It’s hard to lose yourself in Monet’s giant curved paintings of water lilies in Orangerie . Museum When you can’t turn your head. Although the “Calais burger” in Rodin Museum I seemed to share my crappy.

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By evening, I was exhausted and happy to get to the hotel. Until you saw our room. Other than the closet, it was the smallest room I’ve ever seen and made me claustrophobic again. I wish I had Xanax for the firefighter. You need a good night’s sleep. When the light was turned off, the room was very dark. For a New Yorker, complete darkness and complete silence was a form of torture. Add pain that won’t go away, and it felt like a war crime. As soon as the first light crept through the window in the morning, I got dressed and mixed on Rue Saint-Michel for the most powerful pain reliever that a nearby pharmacy could legally give me.

On the train south, Jane was looking forward to seeing her brother. I was also looking forward – because I still couldn’t turn my head. To see the French countryside passing by the window, I had to turn my whole upper body. The pain was bad enough. But what was worse was the growing anxiety that took over my mind. My doctors were in a remote neighborhood in New York. Any doctors likely to speak English were left in Paris. And we were going to Saignon, a small town on a hill, with winding streets and rocky hills in Luberon Provincial Natural Park– Ensuring him to say, it was a remote control. The looming sense of dread grew with each passing mile.

Jane’s brother, Andrew, and his partner Marcia ran a small hotel and planned a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. for french us and some of their friends. On vacation, Shwewa a big turkey and bakes gourd, a small French version of pumpkin flavored with chestnuts, the meal is paired with delicious local wine. Good wine seemed to help my neck aches, so after dinner I offered to wash the dishes, partly to be a good guest. . . But mostly trying to clean up my picture. By then, I was sure everyone was looking at me as if I was the main character in Moliere dummy patient. But bending over the sink and cleaning pots and dishes proved that drinking a bottle Red wine There was no treatment. I may have been raised while working. After her friends left, Marcia sighed in relief and said she was so glad “all the drama” had finally left. Then she turned and saw me and froze. She smiled, “No.” “I’m still here.”

Friday, my neck was worse. I asked Andrew to drive me to a clinic, and in my primitive French, I persuaded the doctor to give me something–anything! To relieve pain. My pinched nervousness ignored everything that was in the shot he gave me. “I want to go home,” I told Jane. I nodded, knowing how miserable I was. “Yes, you should go,” she said. “I might stay a little longer, though.” I thought I would cry. I knew I was asking too much, but the constant pain and constant worry now brought me on the verge of a nervous breakdown. the extension did not work, aspirin It didn’t work, the painkillers injected directly into my neck didn’t work. I was a mess, and worst of all, I was in pain Impasse. And I knew it.

But I couldn’t believe she wanted to put me on the train back to Paris and wave goodbye to me. I said, “I can’t do that.” “There is no way I can navigate the train, plane, airport, customs and French people on my own. I need help.” I reluctantly gave in, and we changed our tickets to go back on Sunday. It meant another day, but it was better than the other four we had planned; A small patch of a desert island seen through the binoculars of a drowning man.

On our last afternoon in Saignon, we walked through town and the surrounding lavender fields. It would have been poetic, if I hadn’t been stabbed in the neck every time I lifted the camera and put my head up looking through the viewfinder. Then, while wandering through the vine-covered buildings on the main square in Saignon, I saw a gray cat with black stripes and white legs next to the gushing fountain. Hardly more than a kitten, she boldly rushed up to me and said, “meow. I held her, and twisted into my arms. As I petted her, Andrew said, ‘You have to adopt her.’ I found my cats in town and they are great. I’m traveling home for Christmas. I can take her to the vet and bring her after.”

I said, “I don’t know.” She was sweet, and I love cats. I have grown up with many. But adopting a cat from France seemed tolerant.

We put it back on, and we kept going. I found myself wondering if she would still be there when we got back. Returning an hour later, the cat was still in the yard and followed another person. I was instantly jealous, but when she saw me she ran over at once. I collected it, and the decision was taken without being told. Her warm paws wrapped around mine as I scratched her soft belly. I began to think of possible names while Andrew chatted with an elderly woman, the local baroness. “Are we sure this cat is a stray?” I asked. “YesShe nodded her head emphatically. I felt a little rattling from The Never. What is ‘purring’ in French? “”purring‘ was the Baroness’s answer. And I knew her name: She makes purring.

I carried Elle to the hotel and went up the narrow staircase to our room on the top floor. When I lowered her to the floor, she shut the door with nails and went down the stairs. We passed a bowl of cat food in the kitchen on the floor below. Elle caught the smell and now helped herself. Then having dinner, I brought her back into the room, this time she jumped on the sofa and immediately turned around, already at home. I laughed at it, sat down with her, and the next thing I knew she climbed onto the front of my polar fleece jacket. Elle’s half eyelid eyes and contented look have done me more than aspirinAnd Red wine, Or whatever the doctor called my neck. I smiled, feeling calmer than I had in days, and leaned back on the pillows. Elle rested on my chest, purring.

And this was where I stayed for thirteen years. I was going to sleep when I did, nestling in my arms and chest, kneading me with bent claws until I couldn’t stand them anymore. As I drove to my family’s home in Berkshire, Elle would perch on my left leg and rest her front paws on my arm, watching the cars go by outside the window. It wasn’t the safest place, but she wouldn’t move, and she smiled a lot from the people in the other cars. Elle liked to be tall and was usually located on top of bookcases or fridge, in relation to you it feels tangible Boredom. About eighteen months after Thanksgiving, Jane and I broke up. I got nursery Child.

Elle was a speaker. “You talk all the time, “I say to friends. Of course, I spoke to Elle in French, and described it as “Kitty“when she was sweet or”naughtyWhen she caused trouble. Elle retained her French roots. Once, she brought home some fresh croissants and left them on the counter for a minute. She pulled the croissants out of the bag and politely helped herself. Berry. Don’t even ask about pat. Once, I poured a suspicion from Red wine in her dish. Just to see. She can barely smell it. Maybe annoyed that it wasn’t champagne.

Time passed, I met Alex and we started dating. Two months later, we went to Paris for New Years Eve, and we said, “I love you“To each other under the Eiffel Tower. I introduced her to my parents and Elle and got engaged. Both come from theater backgrounds, I made Playbill for our wedding. Elle featured prominently – Of course. Whenever we meet someone new, Alex likes him half and half hates how I always found a way to work into a conversation that my cat was from France. It even appeared in my writing process. A few years later, we moved to Brooklyn and our daughter, Dillon, was born. I loved Dillon Elle since he was born. Bear Elle Dillon. As Alex told her, “Elle likes you, and I’m fine. But she Likes My Father.”

Then one morning in November 2019, I noticed that she had lost weight. “When did that happen?” I took her to the vet who ran some tests. When the x-ray came up on his computer, I knew. Her lungs were darkened by the cancer. “Too many unfiltered Gitanes in their Saignon days,” I joked. Everything ends. When you fall in love, it seems like forever is a promise. But then, the years that seemed to last a long time are over.

Almost thirteen years after the day I found her, Elle was murdered in my lap. Most of her ashes are buried in Berkshire, where she liked to roam. But I kept some to take back to Provence one day. I want to take Alex and Dillon to Saigon and show them exactly where I saw it Kitty We all love. Who knows, maybe a new love awaits us at the fountain.

Craig Pospisil is the award-winning author of the plays Most Famous On The End, Somewhere in Between, The Dunes, Life Is Short among others. His plays have been seen off Broadway, across the country, on six continents, and have been translated into French and seven other languages. Craig, a Native New Yorker, lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter. CraigPospisil.com

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